Secretary Benjamin E. Diokno of the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) presented 2017’s increased budget for the health sector at the forum “Health for Juan and Juana: Moving Forward with the Philippine Agenda”, organized by the Pharmaceutical and Healthcare Association of the Philippines (PHAP).
Held on May 18, 2017, at the Asian Development Bank Headquarters in Ortigas, Pasig City, the forum gathered public health experts, medical practitioners, government officials, civil society organizations, and other stakeholders to discuss the universal healthcare agenda in the country. Various topics were examined by the country’s top health practitioners and public servants, ranging from insurance and healthcare financing, healthcare-related legislation and policies, and local government initiatives in promoting better health outcomes.
In line with the theme “Bringing Health to Juan and Juana: Universal Healthcare in the Communities”, DBM Secretary Diokno discussed the healthcare allocations in the 2017 National Budget. He stressed that the increased appropriations for the health sector, from 2016’s P132.74 billion to P158.3 billion this year, corresponds to the human capital build-up being initiated by the Duterte Administration.
Secretary Diokno stressed that the young population of the country, whose median age is 23 years old, must be prioritized as it is an asset in an aging world. “We must mold our young population into an agile and competent workforce,” said Diokno. In tandem with educational interventions, providing accessible and quality healthcare are the pillars of the human capital development program of the government.
“As we are committed to the Golden Age of Infrastructure, we are also as committed to investing in human capital,” said Diokno.
He added that for fiscal year 2017, “P158.3 billion will be used to fund the expenditures for hospital, outpatient, and public health services, health insurance, and research and development on health. This is an increase of 19.2 percent over the 2016 level, allowing a faster and improved delivery of service to the public”.
For 2017, 40 percent of the P3.35 trillion National Budget is allocated for social services, including health. This is meant to support the Duterte Administration’s objective of reducing poverty by 1.25 to 1.5 percentage points annually, such that the poverty rate will be reduced to 13 to 15 percent by 2022.
Secretary Diokno concluded his presentation urging his co-workers in the government to use the funds effectively and efficiently.